What started off as a routine trip to an autocentre and bike shop, soon turned into a scam for one Bradford man.
50-year-old bus driver Abdul Hamid’s story is one which happened over the space of just two expensive days.
He found himself losing £3,000, and gaining possession of two mysterious stones and involved three unknown characters who he has not seen since the day of the trade.
Now he is warning others not to make the same mistakes he did, in the hope of saving people thousands of pounds.
“Looking back I do feel embarrassed that it happened to me but now I want to let others know that this is happening in Bradford,” Mr Hamid said.
“I let greed get the better of me for that one moment and now I have lost my money and just have these two rocks which I don’t even know the real worth of.”
On Monday 14th April, Mr Hamid met the first man, who called himself ‘Mousa’, at Halfords in the city centre. The Bradford resident was approached by Mousa who enquired about the cost of his car as his ‘friend’ was in need of a new motor so the pair went to see him.
Upon arrival, the second man, who called himself ‘Mr Mumbai’, got in the car with ten stones which seemed to have gems inside them. After inspecting them, Mousa, driven by Mr Hamid, took them to be seen by his friend and jeweller, a man who called himself ‘Mr Williams’.
Mr Williams declared the rocks to have a value of approximately £385 per gram, which worked out as £48,000 when cleaned and so struck a deal with Mousa to buy two stones.
When Mousa and Mr Hamid returned to see Mr Mumbai to purchase the two stones, Mousa was told he would have to pay a deposit in ‘pound sterling’, as Mr Mumbai was from another country and had no English currency, if he was to have them for a final price of £29,000.
Following this conversation, the three men went their separate ways and Mr Hamid says he thought that was the end of his connection with the men.
“After he told Mousa he wants cash, I could tell that it wasn’t going to happen there and then,” Mr Hamid explained.
“Looking back, it is perhaps clear to see that they wanted me to hear the fake value of these so-called ‘gems’ so that I would be tempted to get involved with any sort of deal.
“But at that time I didn’t really think anything of it.”
The next day, Mousa phoned Mr Hamid and said the trade was likely to be called off as he had only managed to gather £1,100 in cash.
Mr Hamid, believing he could almost instantly double his investment, offered to pay the other £3,000 deposit as part of a deal which would benefit him financially.
“My wife kept telling me not to do it but I was so convinced that it was a simple deal that I could not resist,” he explained.
“I thought I was going to be seeing these men again as they wanted to buy my car so I went to my bank and withdrew the cash for the exchange.
“I remember asking Mousa why he didn’t sell the Rolex watch he was wearing to a pawn shop but he said he had tried and they needed a receipt which he didn’t have.”
Mr Hamid and Mousa met Mr Mumbai in Foster Square, Bradford, on Tuesday 15th April where the exchange of cash was done in return for the two stones.
After the deal, which again took place in Mr Hamid’s car, the targeted victim was then invited by Mr Mumbai to see where he was supposedly ‘staying’ whilst in Bradford.
Mr Hamid got out of his car to walk with Mr Mumbai to the hotel and when he turned back to go to his car, Mousa had gone and Mr Mumbai was nowhere to be seen.
“All I had left was the stones,” he said. “I tried calling both men but they did not answer their phones so I went to the police.
“They told me there was nothing they could do as I had wilfully handed over the money so now I am stuck with these supposed gems and lost £3,000.
“I just hope by telling others of my story that this won’t happen to anybody else.”
Mr Hamid is currently waiting to see if the CCTV cameras at Halfords picked up any images of the man who called himself ‘Mousa’ and plans on getting the stones valued as his own investigation continues.